Australian Institute of Landscape Architects pays homage to the best in Australian open space

27 October 2016


The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) have announced the National Landscape Architecture Awards for 2016, showcasing leading green, open and public spaces from around the country. Held annually, the awards highlight how landscape architecture can complement built environments to produce rejuvenated and reinvented spaces.

AILA selected 40 state-level finalists as national exemplars across 10 categories, such as Civic Landscape, Land Conservation and Tourism and Gardens. The winners range in focus and theme, but all have appreciated the merit of urban green spaces and sustainably minded infrastructure to promote health, social and economic prosperity for urban and regional communities.

As our major centres become increasingly modern and swell to accommodate a growing population, sites of significance can often be lost in a progressive fray. This year, AILA has recognised the value of historic and cultural sites across multiple categories; specifically, The Goods Line (NSW), a reimagined rail corridor that offers space for creativity and socialising and now connects Sydney’s Central Station with the developing Darling Harbour and Chinatown entertainment precinct.

Similarly, a winning project in Port Adelaide (SA) has revamped the space around Hart’s Mill, an iconic heritage building, to include a walking and biking recreational space, play area and a functions centre, converted from an old flour shed.

Daniel Bennett, National Awards jury chair, comments on this year’s winners: “There has been a definite shift toward preserving old, relevant buildings in the past couple of years and it’s important that new developers consider integrating historical sites with modern buildings and precincts.

“Australia draws on a relatively short national history comparatively to many other places in the world and the architectural conservation of cultural space and identity is key to linking past to present,” says Daniel.

Regional communities have also enjoyed success this year. Today, AILA presented awards to a multitude of projects that have served to benefit local economies or tourism. These winners have not only met the criteria of success in their respective categories, but have also demonstrated how landscape architecture can give a fiscal boost to regional centres. One such project, ‘Get Sunflowered’, is an initiative originating in the Latrobe Valley (VIC), empowering locals to transform unloved public spaces into havens for beautiful sunflowers, indirectly attracting tourists to the region.

Bringing history, culture and tourism together, the Yawuru indigenous community of Broome (WA) have created a self-guided walking tour - the Jetty to Jetty Trail. Accompanied by an app, the walk takes Broome’s locals and visitors along a physical and cognitive journey via thirteen cultural sites combining Yawuru history with Broome’s pearling era. The Jetty to Jetty Trail has been well received, complemented by research showing that 74 per cent of visitors interested in taking part in Aboriginal tourism.

“Whilst there was a strong showing of urban projects in this year’s submissions,” Daniel, “it is promising to see projects hailing from regional parts of Australia. These projects are usually wonderfully creative and represent the culmination of community teamwork. We hope this year’s award winners encourage local communities to think about ways they can contribute architecturally to our nation’s cultural footprint.”

The 2016 National Landscape Architecture Awards took place on Thursday October 27th at the National Arboretum Canberra as part of the International Festival of Landscape Architecture: Not In My Backyard. To find out more information, head to: www.aila.org.au/notinmybackyard

The 2016 National Landscape Architecture Award winners

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Note to editor

  • There are two national award categories;
  1. Award of Excellence [listed below, also included in the dropbox]

    The first and highest award in each category. The award is given to the work judged to be the most significant for the advancement of Landscape Architecture in each category. There is only one winner of the Excellence Award in each category in any year.

  2. Landscape Architecture Award [please see the dropbox]

The second tier is the ‘Landscape Architecture Award’. This is a work of excellence demonstrating consummate skill that contributes to the advancement of landscape architecture. Projects given an Award are the best projects in each category that have not won the Excellence Award. More than one Award may be given in a category.

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About the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

AILA is the growing national advocacy body representing 3,000 active and engaged landscape architects, promoting the importance of the profession today and for the future. Committed to designing and creating a better Australia, landscape architects shape the world around us. www.aila.org.au

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